When Chicago Burned

On the night of October 8, 1871, in a small barn on DeKoven Street, a fire started. Two days later, 300 people were dead, 100,000 were homeless and 3.3 square miles of Chicago were in ruins. Yet the people of Chicago did not give up; they were determined to rebuild this great city by the […]

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A Taste of Johnny Appleseed’s Legacy

Red apple growing on a tree

Autumn begins with the crunch of leaves under our feet and the crunch of apples between our teeth. Tart cider and juicy, spiced apple desserts are classic American comfort foods, thanks to the legacy of John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed. It is hard to separate fact from fiction when learning about this legend's life. John Chapman told […]

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Celebrate Your Freedom to Read

Banned Books week logo

Thanks to the First Amendment, all people in the United States—even kids—have the right to read whatever they choose.  The First Amendment protects the freedom of all Americans by making sure that the government cannot stop the expression of an idea, even if that idea is unpopular. Sometimes people challenge the right of a library […]

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A Sweet New Year!

apple with bowl of honey

My favorite fall holiday is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. It’s filled with reflection, sounds of the shofar, planning for the new year and best of all, sweet foods for a sweet year. In my house we begin with a celebratory dinner that includes symbolic foods, like round challah, to celebrate the cycle of the year, […]

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Festive Fall Activities

Autumn leaves

I've always loved fall, probably because my birthday is in October. So I'll take any excuse to put on a sweater, pick some Apples and stomp through some crispy leaves. The official first day of autumn is September 22, which means it's time to heat up some apple cider and hunt for the perfect pumpkin to carve. You […]

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Find Your Creepy Family

Addams Family original cast

They may be creepy and kooky and altogether spooky, but the Addams family has been around since 1964. My favorite Addams was always Uncle Fester. His silly tricks never failed to make me giggle. Celebrate 50 years of this kooky crew by seeing some of the original TV show hijinks, watching one of the Addams Family movies or trying one […]

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Arrr! Pirates for a Day

pirate ship at sunset

Yo-ho-ho mateys, arrrr ye ready!? September 19 is Talk Like a Pirate Day! What can be more fun than dressing like a pirate? Talking like one!! Talk Like a Pirate Day started as a small celebration among friends in 1995 after an outburst of "Aaarr!" when John Baur and Mark Summers were playing racquetball. They realized that […]

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Celebrate Roald Dahl Day

chocolate fountain

“For me, the pleasure of writing comes with inventing stories.” – Roald Dahl Author Roald Dahl is known for his extremely inventive stories that have brought children pleasure since 1961. Celebrate his books and his love of stories on September 13, Roald Dahl Day. Younger children will enjoy the colorful, illustrated edition of The Enormous Crocodile. A greedy, […]

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Fun Ways to Live Healthy

Photo by Kelly Sikkema via Flikr

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, so why not learn some healthy habits to start off the new school year? Reading about healthy eating doesn't have to be boring like an old textbook. The Monster Health Book offers tasty menu tips and food group facts with a dose of humor. Even better than just reading about nutrition, why not […]

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Jon Scieszka Q & A

Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor book cover

Get to know the first National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and September's Author of the Month, Jon Scieszka (rhymes with "Fresca"). He explains the inspiration behind the first book in his new Frank Einstein series, Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor, what got him started in writing and his love of new words. Where did you get your idea […]

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